War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0900 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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LOUISVILLE, KY., January 5, 1862.

To the PRESIDENT:

Arms can only go forward for East Tennessee under the protection of any army. My organization of the troops has had in view two columns with reference to that movement: a division to move from Lebanon, and a brigade to operate offensively or defensively according to circumstances on the Cumberland Gap route. * * * While my preparations have had this movement constantly in view I will confess to your excellency that I have been bound to it more by my sympathy for the people of East Tennessee and the anxiety with which you and the general-in-chief have desired it than by my opinion of its wisdom as an unconditional measure. As earnestly as I wish to accomplish it my judgment has from the first been decidedly against it if it should render at all doubtful the success of a movement against the great power of the rebellion in the West which is mainly arrayed on the line from Clombus to Bowling Greene and can speedily be concentrated at any point of that line which is attacked singly.

D. C. BUELL.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, January 6, 1862.

Brigadier-General BUELL:

MY DEAR SIR: Your dispatch of yesterday has been received and it disappoints and distresses me. * * * My distress is that our friends in East Tennessee are being hanged and driven to despair and even now fear are thinking of taking rebel arms for the sake of personal protection. In this we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South. My dispatch to which yours is an answer was sent with the knowledge of Senator Johnson and Representative Maynard of East Tennessee and they will be upon me to know the answer which I cannot safely show them. They would despair; possibly resign to go and save their families somehow or die with them.

I do not intend this to be an order in any sense but merely as intimated before to show you the grounds of my anxiety.

Yours, very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

CONFIDENTIAL.] WASHINGTON, Monday, January 6, 1862.

Brigadier General D. C. BUELL, Louisville, Ky.

MY DEAR GENERAL: * * * There are few things I have more at heart than the prompt movement of a strong column into Eastern Tennessee. The political consequences of the delay of this movement will be much more serious than you seem to anticipate. If relief is not soon afforded those people we shall lose them entirely and with them the power of inflickting the most severe blow upon the secession cause.

I was extremely sorry to learn from your telegram to the President that you had from the beginning attached little or no importance to a movement in East Tennessee. I had not so understood your views and it develops a radical difference between your views and my own which I deeply regret. * * * Interesting as Nashville may be to the Louisville interests it strikes me that its possession is of very secondary importance in comparison with the immense results that would